Cultures of China


 Chinese culture:
China is comes under the continent of Asia. China is located in the eastern sub-region of the Asian Continent. China (orange) is the fourth largest country in the world according to the total area and borders 14 countries in the Continent of Asia.
China is the one of the world's oldest cultures, originating thousands of years ago. China came in to existence in 1949 and that was accepted as a country in the world first time by its very friendly country Pakistan. The area over which the culture prevails covers a large geographical region in East Asia and is extremely diverse and varying, having the unique culture of each region with customs and traditions varying greatly between towns, Cities, Provinces and even villages as well.
The Civilization of Chinese historically is considered the dominant culture of East Asia.  With China being one of the earliest and old Civilizations, Chinese culture exerts profound influence on the virtue, philosophy, etiquette, and traditions of Asia to date. Chinese language, ceramics, architecture, music, dance, literature, martial arts, cuisine, visual arts, philosophy, business etiquette, religion, politics, and history have global influence, while its traditions and festivals are also celebrated, instilled, and practiced by people around the world.

IDENTITY :
 Chinese Government and higher Authorities divided Chinese into four Classes from the Qin dynasty to the late Qing dynasty (221 BC – AD 1840), divided classes are: Landlord, Peasant, Craftsmen and merchant. Merchant and craftsmen were collected into the two minor Classes, While Landlords and peasants constituted the two major classes. Theoretically, except for the position of the Emperor, nothing was hereditary.
China's majority ethnic group,  the Han Chinese are an East Asian Ethnic group and nation. They constitute approximately 92% of the population of China, 95% of Taiwan( Han Taiwanese), 76% of the Singapore, 23% of Malaysia, and about 17% of the global population, making them the World’s largest ethnic group, numbering over 1.3 billion people.
Officially there are 56 labeled ethnic groups in the new and modern era. Throughout Chinese history, many non-Chinese ethnic groups have assimilated with the Han Chinese, retained their distinct ethnic identities, or faded away.  At the same time, throughout the ages the Han Chinese majority has maintained distinct linguistic and regional cultural traditions. The term Zhonghua has been used to describe the notion of Chinese nationalism in general. Much of the traditional identity within the community has to do with distinguishing the family name.

Regional:
After the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD), during the 361 years of civil war there was a partial restoration of feudalism when wealthy and powerful families emerged with huge numbers of semi-serfs and large amounts of land. They dominated important military and civilian positions of the government, and to set their own family members and clans on the positions and making them in power. After the Tang dynasty's yellow emergence, the government extended the imperial examination system as an attempt to eradicate this feudalism and to overcome the level showing system. Traditional Chinese culture covers large geographical territories, where each region is usually divided into distinct sub-cultures and having their own specific kind of culture and traditions. Each region is often represented by three ancestral items. For example, Guangdong is represented by hay, chenpi and aged ginger. And the others include old and ancient cities like Lin'an (Hangzhou), which include shoot trunk, tea leaf, hickory nut and bamboo. Such distinctions give rise to the old Chinese proverb: (十里不同風, 百里不同俗/十里不同風) praxis vary within ten li, customs vary within a hundred li". The 31 provincial-level divisions of the People’s Republic of China  grouped by its former administrative areas from 1949 to 1980, which are now known as traditional regions of the China.
Social structure
Some form of Chinese monarch has been the main ruler above all, Since the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors period, and within the Society for the various positions different periods of history have different names. Conceptually each feudal or imperial period is similar, with the military and government officials in the hierarchy ranking high, and the rest of the population under regular Chinese law. From the late Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BCE) onwards, traditional Chinese society was organized into a hierarchic system of socio-economic classes known as the 4 occupations.
However, this system did not cover all social groups while the distinctions between all groups became blurred ever since the commercialization of Chinese culture in the Song dynasty (960–1279 CE).The old Chinese education also has a long history; ever since the Sui dynasty (581–618 CE) educated candidates prepared for the imperial examinations which drafted exam graduates into government as Scholar-bureaucrats. This led to the creation of a meritocracy and having skilled educators, although success was available only to males who could afford test preparation.it was required by the Imperial examinations for the applicants to write essays and demonstrate mastery of the Confucian classics. Those who passed the highest level of the exam became elite scholar-officials known as Jinshi, a highly esteemed socio-economic position. A major mythological structure developed around the topic of the mythology of the imperial exams. It was usually taught by the shifu crafts and Trades. Lessons for women written by the female historian Ban Zhao in the Han dynasty and outlined the four virtues women must abide to,  while scholars such as Cheng Xi and Zhu Xi would expand upon this. Chines Taoist sexual practices and marriages are some of the customs and rituals found in society.
Beginning in the mid in the 19th century, with the rise of European military power and European economic, non-Chinese systems of social and political organization gained adherents in China. Some of these would-be reformers totally rejected China's cultural legacy, while others sought to combine the strengths of Chinese and European cultures. In essence, the history of 20th-century China is one of experimentation with new systems of social, political, and economic organization that would allow for the reintegration of the nation in the wake of dynastic collapse.

Spiritual values


Spiritually the more spirituality is derived from Chinese Taoism, Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism. The subject of which the school was the most influential is always debated as many concepts such as Buddhism and Neo-Confucianism and many others have come about. Other rebirth and Reincarnation concept is a reminder of the connection between current real-life and the after-life. The concept of guanxi, indicating the primacy of relations over rules, in the Chinese business has been well documented.  While many deities are part of the tradition, some of the most recognized holy figures include Guan Yin, the Buddha and Jade Emperor.
The Culture of Chinese has been shaped by the Buddhism in a wide variety of areas including art, politics, philosophy, literature and medicine, and material culture. The translation of a large body of Indian Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and the inclusion of these translations together with works composed in China into a printed canon had far-reaching implications for the dissemination of Buddhism  throughout the China. Chinese Buddhism is also marked by the interaction between Taoism, Indian religions, and Chinese religion.

Religion:

During the Xia and Shang dynasties the religion of Chinese was originally oriented to worshipping the supreme god Shang Di, with the diviners and king acting as priests and using Oracle bones. The Zhou dynasty oriented it to worshipping the broader concept of heaven. A large part of Chinese culture is based on the notion that a spiritual world exists.
Methods of divination have helped to answer questions in wide range, even serving as an alternative to medicine. To fill the Gap between the things Folklores have helped that cannot be explained. There is often a blurred line between religion, myth, and unexplained phenomenon. Into the traditional Chinese holidays there are many of the stories have since evolved.  Other concepts have extended to the outside of mythology into spiritual symbols such as Imperial guardian lions and Door God. Along with the belief of the holy, there is also the evil. Practices such as Jiangshi and Taoist exorcism fighting mogwai with peachwood swords are just some of the concepts passed down from generations. A few Chinese fortune telling rituals are still in use today after thousands of years of refinement.
Taoism is a philosophical tradition or religious of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (, literally "Way", also romanized as Dao). In most Chinese philosophical the Tao is a fundamental idea; in Taoism, however, it denotes the principle that is the pattern, source, and substance of everything that exists. Taoism differs from Confucianism by not emphasizing Social order and rigid rituals. Depending on the particular schools Taoist ethics varies, but in general tend to emphasize Wu Wei (effortless action), "naturalness", spontaneity, simplicity, and the three treasures: "compassion", "humility" and / "frugality", The roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE. Early from the School of Yinyang Taoism drew its cosmological notions (Naturalists), and was deeply influenced by one of the oldest texts of Chinese culture, the Yijing, which expounds a philosophical system about how to keep human behavior in accordance with the alternating cycles of nature. The “Legalist”Shen Buhai may also have been a major influence, expounding a realpolitik of wu wei. The Tao Te Ching, a compact book containing teachings attributed to Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozǐ; Wade-Giles: Lao Tzu), is widely considered the keystone work of the Taoist tradition, together with the later writings of Zhuangzi.

Philosophy and legalism:

Ruism, is also known as Confucianism, was the official philosophy throughout most of Imperial China’s history, and mastery of Confucian texts was the primary criterion for entry in to the imperial bureaucracy. A number of more authoritarian strains of thought have also been influential, such as Legalism. There was often conflict between the philosophies, e.g. the Song dynasty Neo-Confucians believed Legalism departed from the original spirit of Confucianism. Examinations and a Culture of merit remain greatly valued in China today. In recent years, a number of New Confucians (not to be confused with Neo-Confucianism) have advocated that democratic ideals and human rights are quite compatible with traditional Confucian "Asian values".
Confucianism is described as tradition, a religion, a philosophy, rationalistic religion or a humanistic religion, a way of life or simply a way of governing. Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE), who considered himself a re-transmitter of the values of the Zhou dynasty golden age of several centuries before. In the Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), Confucian approaches edged out the "proto-Taoist" Huang-Lao, as the official ideology while the emperors mixed both with the realist techniques of Legalism.

Hundred Schools of Thought:
The Hundred Schools of Thought were philosophies and schools that flourished from the 6th century to 221 BC, during the Autumn and Spring period and the Warning States period of ancient China. That is the an era of great intellectual and Cultural expansion in China,  it was fraught with bloody and chaos battles, and was also known as the Golden Age of Chinese philosophy because a broad range of ideas, experiences and thoughts were discussed and developed  freely. This phenomenon has been called the Contention of a Hundred Schools of Thought (百家爭鳴/百家争bǎijiā zhēngmíng:  pai-chia cheng-ming; "hundred schools contend"). The Ideas and thoughts refined and discussed during this period have profoundly influenced social consciousness and lifestyles up to the present day in China and across East Asia. The intellectual society of this era was characterized by itinerant scholars, who were often employed by various state rulers as advisers on the methods of government, diplomacy and war. And this period ended with the rise of the imperial Qin Dynasty and the subsequent purge of dissent. A traditional source for this period is the Records of the Grand Historian by Sima Qian, or Shiji. The autobiographical section of the Shiji, the "Taishigong Zixu" (太史公自序), refers to the schools of thought described in the next paragraph.
The Mohisim was an ancient Chinese philosophy of rational thought , logic and Science developed by an academic scholars that were studied under the old and ancient Chinese scholar that name is Mozi.(c. 470 BC–c. 391 BC) and embodied in an eponymous book: the Mozi. Another group is the School of the Military (兵家Bingjia) that studied warfare and strategy;Sun Bin and Sunzi were influential leaders. The School of Naturalists was a Warring States era philosophy that synthesized the concepts of Five Elements and yin-yang; The founder of this school is considered the Zou Yan. His theory attempted to explain the universe in terms of basic forces in nature: the complementary agents of yin (female, dark, cold, negative) and yang (light, hot, male, positive) and the Five Elements or Five Phases (water, fire, metal, wood, and earth).
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